Most “learning-by-doing” is actually “learning-by-doing-something-really-similar-to-what-you-ultimately-want-to-do.” This isn’t horrible, but it is different.
For example, I’ve designed and built many online modules that focus on interacting with people. Typically, the user clicks what they want to do/say and sees the results through immediate and/or delayed feedback.
If the choices take into account best practices and tempting mistakes, these types of online interactions can help users practice some of the same sorts of decision-making used in real life. This is almost always more impactful than just passively reading or listening to information about these decisions.
However, the way the user acts and is evaluated certainly isn’t the same as real life. Not once in my interactions with real people in the real world have I been presented with three options for what to do next and asked to click one.
Receiving and judging user’s performance in novel ways is hard, especially with the limited options for input devices on computers and other electronics. On that note, my next few posts will feature games that I think are interesting BECAUSE of the way that they incorporate real (not just close to real) practice into the gameplay itself.
On that note, tomorrow’s post will explore GuitarBots!